PHILIPPINE STOCKS fell on Thursday on profit taking and data showing more Filipinos were unemployed in May, with the quality of jobs worsening.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) slid by 92.69 points or 1.43% to close at 6,352.32 on Thursday, while the broader all shares index went down by 37.51 points or 1.08% to 3,405.39.

“The PSEi retreated today and retraced much of yesterday’s rally as investors likely took profit following gains in the first half of the week… Nevertheless, the market’s move remains in line with a healthy pullback,” China Bank Securities Corp. Research Head Rastine Mackie D. Mercado said in a Viber message.

“Shares on the Philippine Stock Exchange retreated, snapping a four-day winning streak, as more Filipinos found themselves unemployed or out of business in May while the quality of available jobs worsened, in what could be a sign that the economy, while growing again, is struggling to heal the pandemic-battered labor market,” Globalinks Securities and Stocks, Inc. Head of Sales Trading Toby Arlan C. Arce said in a Viber message.

“Sentiment may have also been soured after the government tempered its growth target for this year. The Marcos administration is now looking at a 6.5% to 7.5% economic growth in its first year in office, lower than the target set by the previous government,” Mr. Arce said.

Preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority released on Thursday showed this was higher than the jobless rate of 5.7% in April, but remained lower than 7.7% in May last year.

May’s unemployment rate was equivalent to 2.927 million jobless Filipinos in May, up 165,000 from 2.762 million in April.

Job quality also deteriorated as the underemployment rate — the proportion of those already working but still looking for more work or longer working hours to the total employed population — rose to 14.5% in May from 14% in April.

In absolute terms, this translated to 6.668 million underemployed Filipinos in May, 269,000 more than the 6.399 million the previous month.

All sectoral indices posted losses. Industrials fell by 217.61 points or 2.30% to 9,216.24; services lost 33.46 points or 1.97% to end at 1,665.01; mining and oil went down by 200.45 points or 1.79% to 10,942.96; financials dropped by 24.45 points or 1.61% to 1,486.51; property decreased by 44.15 points or 1.49% to 2,903.76; and holding firms declined by 15.68 points or 0.25% to 6,056.71.

Value turnover went down to P4.69 billion on Thursday with 708.51 million shares from the P5.32 billion with 915.72 million issues seen the previous day.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 103 versus 68, while 51 names closed unchanged.

Foreigners turned sellers anew with net sales worth P662.86 million on Thursday from the P93.22 million in net purchases seen the previous trading day.

China Bank Securities’ Mr. Mercado placed the PSEi’s support at 6,200 and resistance at 6,500, while Globalinks Securities and Stocks’ Mr. Arce placed support between 6,200 and 6,150 and resistance from 6,450 to 6,500. — J.I.DP. Tabile